SYMBOLS AND SIGNIICATION IN MODERN AFRICAN POETRY: A STUDY OF IDRIS AMALI’S ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS BACK AGAIN AT THE FOOTHILLS OF GREED SELECTS 16 POEMS

PROJECT INFORMATION

Format: ms word /  Chapters: 1-5 /  Pages: 59 /  Attributes: historical analysis

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Poetry is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality in their poems but they write from experience which they have had earlier in life, they visualize societal ills using symbols through their poems they profound solutions to the ills poets therefore do not write their poems to express their personality. African poetry has expressed many concerns which make them unique to the understanding of African ethos and traditions. Commenting on these various voices in African poetry, Soyinka (1999). asserts that these poems "embrace most of the experience of the African world- modern and historic- though naturally, no claim is made here for an unattainable comprehensiveness of themes; or for their mutual exclusiveness.

        The overlapping is obvious and frequent. What gives, for instance, the love poems of Denis Brutus "their raw", passionate desperation is the fact that they are just as much poems about love as they are poems of indictment-a word I prefer to protest-against the brutish environment from which such emotions are painfully wrenched, that they speak of integral refuge and outer defiance, hope and resolve, within one breathe. Even when the poem emerges as essentially tender, its poignancy remains a yet more lacerating accusation" (Poems of Black Africa, 13). Poetry and agony are inseparable because poems of agony tend to have it share in the market because people are eager to know what their ancestors have passed through in the past, poem is clearly seen as a counter-attacking instrument against the bad people to curtail the power of whoever has such bad behaviour in mind.

 This kind of poetry comes in different themes, some come having, suffering theme, some, theme of neglect, some theme of failed promises, theme of forgotten promises, theme of bad leadership, theme of racial abuse and many more. Writers of poetry always write with cryptic expressions to coach their themes. Poetry is one of the most difficult

genres of literature because of its use of symbols and other literary devices. The voices in African poetry according to Soyinka encapsulate history and reality. While some poetry scrambles for self assertion, others struggle for identity. Some in the long run examines the powerlessness of man in the face of uncontrollable phenomenon. Leopold Senghor's poems are typical examples of poems that strive for self assertion, identity, self consciousness, black aesthetics etc. while J P Clark's poetry strive for the place of man in the face of natural and uncontrollable phenomenon. Some poems are psychological while some are grossly philosophical. Niyi Osunsare"  poems are mythical, cultural and philosophical.

  The same thing goes to Soyinka's "idanre” personal feelings were also expressed in African poetry, this makes the voices in African poetry very fundamental. According to (Drummond 2005) in his critical essay published in African Postcolonial Literature in English series, he observes that in "A Shuttle in the Crypt" (1967), Wole Soyinka presents seven thematic groups of poems composed during Soyinka's imprisonment for political protests against the Nigerian government. One of these thematic groups, titled "Four archetypes," comprises four poems—"Joseph, ""Hamlet, ""Gulliver; "and "Ulysses" each of which draws an analogy between Soyinka and the corresponding character from literature.

 Various voices which were examined according to the Poems of Black Africa include Alien perspective, Ancestors and Gods, Animalistic Phases, Black thoughts, Captivity, Compatriots, Cosmopolis, Early passage, Ethics, Exile, Indictment., Land and liberty, Man in Nature, Mating cry, Mortality, Poets passage, Praise singers and Critics, Prayers and Invocation. These various classifications were made by Soyinka in the anthology. (Akingbe, 2014) stated that contemporary Nigerian poets have had to contend with the social and political problems besetting Nigeria's landscape by using satire as a suitable medium, to distil the presentation and portrayal of these social malaises in their linguistic disposition.

Arguably, contemporary Nigerian poets, in an attempt to criticize social ills, have unobtrusively evinced a mastery of language patterns that have made their poetry not only inviting but easy to read. The epochal approach in the crafting of poetry has significantly evoked an inimitable sense of humor which endears poems to the readers. The over-arching argument of various studies is that satire is grounded in the poetics of contemporary Nigerian poetry in order to criticize certain aspects of the social ills plaguing Nigerian society. As representatively exemplified in some poems, (Venugopala 2014). stated that 'War poetry' is commonly read, discussed and taught as a very specific genre. The term is used to refer almost exclusively to poetry from the First World War (1914-18), and within that to a very limited group of poets, among whom Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon are the most prominent. But poetry about war has been in existence for a very long time.

Homer's Iliad has strong claims to be called a war poem, and literature in English frequently discusses the theme of war. Sir Philip Sidney's "love sonnets" often use images of war to describe the strife of love;" Wordsworth's 'Salisbury Plain' poems discuss the after-effects of war in terms of injury and widowhood; Tennyson's 'Charge of the Light Brigade' either celebrates or condemns the loss of life in one moment of the Crimean war; and several writers during the South African wars of the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries address a complex of issues of patriotism, heroism and suffering. Why, then, has the poetry of the First World War come to assume its place in the academic tradition? The answer to the question has a great deal to do with the larger processes in which the literary canon is created, and history written. Both involve a dialogue between the present and the past, in which each generation tries to explain and understand the decisions of its predecessors. If we return to the years of the  of the war themselves and explore the kinds of poetry being published.

The strong tendency to understand poems from the standpoint of poets' biography seems to limit the possibilities for interpreting these poems. As long as we read poems, we will do no more than understand the historical facts of their lives. Poems therefore remain unknown to large number of people in the society. (Akingbe, 2014).

1.2           STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Poetry is special kind of writing in which imagery and sound combine to create a special emotional effect. It is written in free or conventional verse form. In this study poetry refers to the imaginative response to an experience reflecting a keen awareness of language by Ugandan poets. There are many elements used in writing effective poetry. Language in poetry evokes sensory images through figures of speech.

 Other challenges could also be that   so many Nigerian people are scare away from the area of arts. It could also be that the government don’t fund the work of arts which in turn encourage the poets to do more. Finally several research has been carried out on the definition of poetry and significant of poets. But not even a single research as been carried out on symbols and signification in modern African poetry.

1.3   AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

The main aim of the study is to identify the symbols and signification in modern African poetry. Other specific objectives of the study include;

1.  to determine the nature of the symbols and signification in modern African poetry.

2.  to determine the symbols and signification in idris Amali’s Anthology of poems.

3.  to determine the factors affecting the nature of symbols and signification of modern African poetry in idris Amali’s Anthology of poems.

4.  To proffer possible solutions to the problems.

1.4   RESEARCH QUESTIONS               

1.  What is the nature of the symbols and signification in modern African poetry?

2.  What are the symbols and signification in idris Amali’s Anthology of poems?

3.  What are the factors affecting the nature of symbols and signification of modern African poetry in idris Amali’s Anthology of poems?

4.  What are the possible s solutions to the problems?

1.5   SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

Modern African poetry has been examined as a unique literary

Manifestation which is made up of various canons/trends; these trends are informed by socio-political happenings. The periodisation of modern African poetry is no easy task because of the fairly new nature of this literary tradition. The poets that wrote in the early periods are still writing till date and new poets are writing like the poets of the earlier generations.

This situation creates a problem in canonising African poetry. However, this paper has identified eight broad canons of modern African poetry and these include pioneer poetry, modernist poetry, disillusionment poetry, civil war poetry, alter/native poetry, apartheid poetry, Niger delta/ecopoetry and contemporary poetry. These appellations have been used by the researcher based on the dominant issues each period concerns itself with.

 The paper has also analysed some of poems, in terms of theme and style, of the various poetic canons with the aim of identifying their significant features. While the researcher does not assert that this study is prescriptive, he hopes that knowledge has been contributed to the broad discussion on the periodisation of modern African poetry. Finally the study will contribute to the existing literature and knowledge to this field of study.

1.6   SCOPE OF STUDY

The study on symbols and signification in the modern African poetry; is limited to African.

1.7   LIMITATION OF STUDY

Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8   DEFINITION OF TERMS

Poetry

Poetry is special kind of writing in which imagery and sound combine to create a special emotional effect. It is written in free or conventional verse form. In this study poetry refers to the imaginative response to an experience reflecting a keen awareness of language by Ugandan poets. There are many elements used in writing effective poetry. Language in poetry evokes sensory images through figures of speech.

SYMBOLS 

symbol refers to something such as an object, picture, written word, a sound, particular mark or person that represents (or stands for) something else by association, resemblance, or convention.